British Home Secretary Theresa May announced Monday a massive investigation into decades of sexual abuse allegations brought against government officials and how those allegations were handled (or weren't). The investigation, May said, will extend to health providers, religious groups, and the BBC.

"In recent years we have seen appalling cases of organised and persistent child sex abuse," May told British parliament today. "The government will establish an independent inquiry panel of experts in the law and child protection to consider whether public bodies and other non-state institutions have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse."

As reported by the Guardian, the investigation will include allegations made in the 1970s:

Ministers had been holding out against such a sweeping inquiry, but, facing charges of an establishment cover-up, succumbed and promised there would be no no-go areas for the investigation.

The inquiry will be able to examine the files of the security services and allegations that the Tory whips' office in the 1970s may have suppressed allegations of child abuse by members of the parliamentary party. It is also expected to take some evidence from victims.

Labour MPs pointed to a 1985 BBC documentary in which a former government whip between 1970 and 1973 said that the Tory whips' office, when faced by an MP involved in "a scandal with small boys", would get him out of trouble, partly so the MP then felt obliged in the future to carry out the bidding of the whips.

Peter McKelvie, a former child protection manager, told the BBC that there is evidence of "at least" 20 pedophiles that includes government officials:

Mr McKelvie said some of those who were alleged to have abused children had now died.

He told the BBC he had spoken to victims over "many, many years" and that children - "almost exclusively boys" - were moved around like "a lump of meat".

They had been subjected to the "worst form of abuse", including rape, he said.

Mr McKelvie was a child protection manager in Hereford and Worcester and worked on the conviction of paedophile Peter Righton - a former consultant to the National Children's Bureau.

And according to the Telegraph, evidence in the form of a dossier containing the names of child abusers in Westminster were turned over to the Home Office in the 1980s, and the government is now accused of ignoring the evidence. Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday that the investigation would "leave no stone unturned."

[Image of Theresa May via AP]